>> Easing tensions in Korea, the International Olympic Committee announced on Saturday that North Korea will send 22 athletes to the Winter Olympics in the neighboring south next month. They'll be competing in three sports and five disciplines. And the decision is viewed as a sign of moving forward over disagreements regarding the North's nuclear and missile program.
The North and South have already agreed to march under a single flag at the opening ceremony in PyeongChang and field a united team in the women's ice hockey. The North Korean athletes will be handed quota places, a rarely use form of wildcard to allow them to compete in events including ice skating, skiing, and ice hockey.
Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee, said he hoped the Winter Games would hopefully open the door to a brighter future on the Korean Peninsula.>> Let us not forget that such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago. I would like to express my most sincere thanks to the governments of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea for paving the way for these decisions in the Olympics period.
>> North Korea's participation in the Olympics has been seen as a win for the South's president, Moon Jae-in. He hopes to use the event to make a diplomatic breakthrough. However, the decision to field a unified ice hockey team has sparked a sharp backlash in the south. Younger South Koreans are upset that an unchastened North Korea could steal the spotlight.